Should I Go Solar in a Non-Sunny State?

Solar panels have been increasing in popularity in recent decades, but only 2 percent of the United States’ energy comes from solar power. As a nation, we’ve got a long way to go before renewable energy becomes the norm and we become less reliant on big utility companies and harmful fossil fuels for energy. In states like California, Arizona, or Florida, going solar is a no-brainer, but what most people don’t know is that solar is also a great investment in less sunny states.

Actually, one of the world’s leaders in installed solar power, Germany, is not exactly known for its long days of sunshine or its tropical climate. Germany only receives about 150 sunny days out of the year, which is substantially less than the national average of 205 days in the United States. Even the least sunny states in the U.S. like Washington or Oregon get more sun than Germany!

At Blue Raven Solar, we believe that solar power can make the world better, and it can also make homeowner’s lives better by helping them to save thousands of dollars and reduce their carbon footprint. If you’re on the fence regarding solar panels because you don’t live in a sunny state, here are some reasons why it might still be a good investment for your home:

Solar works in the rain and cloudy or snowy weather

Solar panel production varies depending on weather, and factors such as rain, snow, hail, or clouds will affect your solar panels’ production. On a clear, sunny day, your solar panels will hit their peak performance. The highest energy production will be when it’s the sunniest, with less production in the morning and afternoon. That being said, solar panels still produce energy during rainy or cloudy days. Just like you can get sunburned from being outside in overcast conditions, your rooftop solar array will still convert photons into electric current even if the skies are cloudy and overcast. The sun’s rays that your panels need to produce energy still make their way through rain or clouds, but not as strongly as on a clear day. This means that your panels’ production will not be as efficient or consistent, but they will still produce, nonetheless.

In some cases, however, clouds can even increase the production of your solar panels. Sometimes, individual clouds move slowly across the open sky. These lone clouds reflect direct sunlight, causing more of a higher concentration of light to hit nearby solar panels. So, for a brief amount of time, a residential solar system can produce a burst of extra electricity. This is called the cloud edge effect and commonly occurs during colder fall and winter months of the year. Although homeowners should never depend on lone clouds to boost their energy output, they can have peace of mind knowing that clouds don’t always have such a negative effect on solar production!

Solar panels can perform better in low temperatures

Believe it or not, lower temperatures are actually better for your solar panels than extreme heat. High temperatures can cause solar panels to be less efficient—just like a computer or phone, solar panels can overheat. The hotter it is, the worse the panels will perform, so panels are actually more efficient during the colder fall and winter months. Solar industry experts typically test their panels as if they were in a 25 °C or 77 °F environment. The average panel will drop by about 0.05 percent for every degree Celsius over that tested temperature. If panels reach an internal temperature of 35 °C (95 °F), they will produce power with .5% less efficiency than their original grade. For most states, this decrease in efficiency only occurs during the summer months, meaning that panels are technically more efficient during the winter. Temperature plays the biggest effect in hot states like Arizona, California, Florida, or Nevada, where panel temperatures can exceed 95 °F for almost half the year. During the winter, all solar owners will avoid any losses to solar panel efficiency and monthly electricity bill savings independent of the state they live in.

Originally, solar panels performed poorly in freezing temperatures. However, the solar industry was quick to develop a layering design to protect solar panels’ internal temperatures from getting too low. Through the use of tempered glass, aluminum casing, and a steady back sheet, solar panels can stay at the ideal internal temperature of 40 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit even during the coldest winter storms. However, scientists have yet to discover a way to keep panel’s internal temperatures cool during the hotter summer months. Thus, the winter months should not scare homeowners away from going solar, since lower temperatures are actually ideal.    

We’ll factor in hours of sunlight on your roof

When premium solar companies like Blue Raven Solar provide you with a custom solar quote for your home, we are taking into consideration the hours of sunlight that your specific roof receives per year. We employ tools like Google’s Project Sunroof and years of historical data to account for the typical weather patterns in your area to accurately model the energy production needs of every rooftop solar array we install. All that information gets factored into the custom design proposal for your home. So, even if you live in a less sunny or more rainy state, we have that information and can build your solar array to best fit your needs and cover the amount of electricity that your home and family needs and uses each month. The result should be enough solar energy to power your home life, day-to-day, throughout the entire year.

Plus, to make solar energy as dependable as the morning sun, Blue Raven Solar offers customers a two-year productivity guarantee. This means that we check in with our customers to audit the production of their solar array after a year, and then again two years after installation. If any solar energy systems are found to produce less than original estimates after two years, we update them with more panels free of charge. To learn more about that, go here.

You’ll save money & help save the planet

Like we mentioned before, the renewable energy industry has a long way to go before it dominates traditional energy production methods that are harmful to the environment. We believe that solar energy can be a great investment to tens of millions of homeowners across America and the rest of the world, not just those who live by the beach. Those who live in rainy or snowy states like Oregon, Washington, Indiana, Utah, or Ohio deserve to reap the benefits from solar power just as much as those who live in Florida, Nevada, Arizona or California! Solar panels will help homeowners save thousands of dollars throughout the life of their system, with savings increasing as utility companies raise the price of electricity throughout the years. They will also reap the benefits of using clean energy instead of releasing harmful carbon emissions into the atmosphere. The average solar system installed by Blue Raven will offset 175 tons of carbon dioxide over its lifetime, the equivalent of planting over 4,000 trees or eliminating over 80 tons of coal burned.

Get a 3D rendering of your home with solar panels

There is no better time to go solar than now, independent of season, sun exposure, or state. If you want to make the switch to clean, renewable energy and start saving today, you will be taking advantage of competitive prices, an extended federal solar tax credit, and any other local or state benefits available to you. If you’d like to determine whether solar is right for your home and situation, we provide a free quote to all eligible homeowners. This quote will allow you to visualize what solar would actually look like on your home, how much it would cost, and how much it could save you over the course of several decades. If you like your solar quote and its savings projections, you can begin your solar journey and become a part of the Blue Raven Solar Family. We only use the highest quality and most durable panels. We also offer a 24-month production guarantee, a 10-year workmanship warranty (which protects our customers against any of the threats mentioned in this post), and a 25-year panel warranty. It is our objective to make going solar as simple and pain free of an experience as possible. Use our free tool to see what solar panels would look like on your roof, and to get your estimated monthly saving with solar.

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